Exposition of Realities Explaining “Treasury of Intricacies”


This six-volume work of al-shari’ah (Islamic law) is a commentary by ʻUthman ibn ʻAli al-Zaylaʻi (died 1342 or 1343) on a compendium of judgments by ʻAbd Allah ibn Ahmad Al-Nasafi (died 1310), a near contemporary of the author. Islamic legal texts are often accompanied by marginal commentaries and Tabayīn al-ḥaqāʼiq (Exposition of realities) is no exception. The main text by al-Zaylaʻi is accompanied in the margins by a commentary by Shihab al-Din Ahmad al-Shilbi (died 1611 or 1612). The manuscript thus contains al-Zaylaʻi’s commentary Tabayīn al-ḥaqāʼiq on al-Nasafi’s Kanz al-daqāʼiq (Treasury of intricacies), with an untitled marginal gloss by al-Shilbi on al-Zaylaʻi’s commentary. Tabayīn al-ḥaqāʼiq is a comprehensive exposition of Hanafite legal regulations, including those relating to prayer and ritual, business transactions, marriage and divorce, fostering of children, legal procedure, and many other topics. Al-Nasafi is held in esteem by followers of Hanafite jurisprudence; al-Zaylaʻi’s commentary is also highly regarded. Little is known of al-Zaylaʻi’s life other than that he probably came from the port city of al-Zaylaʻ (also called Zeila or Saylac, in present-day Somalia) and taught in Cairo. Even less is recorded in the biographical literature about al-Shilbi. As with the other schools of Sunni law, the Hanafite tradition began well after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632. Abu Hanifah (died 767 or 768) made his reputation as a teacher in Baghdad and Kufa in Abbasid Iraq. His teachings were memorized, copied, and transmitted by his students and their successors, whose works are considered authoritative. Hanafi jurisprudence is the predominant tradition in Central and South Asia, Turkey, and many other regions. The present work was published in Cairo at Bulaq Press, the government printing house, at the expense of the book merchant ʻUmar al-Khashshab, who “underwrote the printing inasmuch as students called for it, experts needed its support, and the public desired its benefits.”

Date Created

Publication Information

al-Maṭbaʻah al-Kubrá al-Amīrīyah, Cairo


Title in Original Language

تبيين الحقائق شرح كنز الدقائق

Type of Item

Physical Description

6 volumes ; 25 centimeters


  • The printed index to volume 3 is missing and has been provided in a handwritten note at the end of the volume. In volume 4, page numbers 118 and 121 are misprinted.


  1. J. Schacht, “Abu Hanifa al-Nu’man,” in Encyclopaedia of Islam (Leiden: Brill, 1986).

Last updated: June 9, 2015